Trans. Status:

John Law collection

Call Number: MSS 606
Title: John Law collection
Creator: Chamonal, Rodolphe (collector)
Date of Creation: 1707-1734
Predominant Dates: 1715-1726
Extent: 246 items
Object Name: books
broadsides (notices)
manuscripts (documents)
Collection Type: Archival & Special Collections
Documents & Correspondence
Language: French
Scope and Content: This extensive collection, originally assembled by collector Rodolphe Chamonal, documents the monetary system of John Law and the foundation of the Banque Générale de France and the Company of the West, later the Company of the Indies The original collection was described in a printed catalogue published by Mr. Chamonal titled: Le système monétaire de Law, les premiers billets de banque et la fondation de la Compagnie de Louisiane. This collection consisted of 228 imprints, 2 bound volumes, 5 printed broadsides, and 3 manuscripts. Of the latter, one item stands out in particular: a manuscript copy of the charter for the Banque Generale de France, dated May 2, 1716. The document, written on parchment, was signed by Louis XV, witnessed by his regent, the Duc d'Orleans, and countersigned by Louis Phélypeaux, marquis de La Vrillière. There is also an unsigned, undated manuscript biographical sketch, titled "About John Law" offering an unflattering summary of Law's life, gambling habits, and financial system, culminating in his disgrace and eventual death.
Another item of interest is a copy of Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid (1720), a bound and printed collation of satirical prints published in Amsterdam that depict the rise and fall of John Law's Company and the eventual ruin of its investors across Europe. The bulk of the John Law collection consists of published royal acts and edicts in pamphlet form that concern the operation of the Bank and Company, the administrative structures governing both institutions, as well as the use of paper currency and company stocks, and subsequent regulations issued as the "Mississippi Bubble" grew and eventually burst.
Mr. Chamonal made later additions of imprints not included in the original collection and printed catalogue. The collection as a whole provides scholars with a unique record of the complex legal foundations of Law's economic system.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged in six series, as follows: Series I: Manuscripts (folders 1- 5); Series II: Printed Pamphlets (folders 6- 218); Series III: Printed Tables Volume (folder 219); Series IV: Printed Broadsides (folders 220- 224); Series V: Printed Books and Documents (folders 225- 233); and Series VI: Additions (folders 234- 244). Arrangement within each series is generally chronological, except for the additions, which are arranged in the order of their acquisition.
Notes: John Law Collection, MSS 606, Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection
Finding Aid: An unpublished finding aid is available in the Williams Research Center reading room. See MSS binders.
An item-level PDF finding aid is available online.
Restrictions: Researchers may be limited to consulting one or two items at a time, per the discretion of the Reading Room staff.
Reproduction of original documents, when permitted, must be performed by the Williams Research Center staff.
Requesting: Please provide the reference staff with the manuscript call number and folder number.
Collection Theme(s): Banking and Brokerage
French Colonial Louisiana
Commerce, Industry and Agriculture
Currency, Stocks and Bonds
Subjects: Law, John, 1671-1729 -- More information
Company of the Indies -- More information
Banque Royale de France -- More information
Louis XV, King of France, 1710-1774 -- More information
Orléans, Philippe, duc d', 1674-1723 -- More information
Crozat, Antoine, 1655-1738 -- More information
Paris (France)
Grenoble (France)
Versailles (France).
Toulouse (France)
Dijon (France)
Monetary policy--France.
Monetary policy--France--History--18th century--Sources.
Finance -- France -- History.
Bank notes.
Related Manuscripts &
Acts of the Royal French Administration concerning Louisiana MSS 268
Décision théologique sur les actions de la Compagnie des Indes MSS 735
John Law and Banque Général Privée broadsides MSS 812
John Law and Mississippi Company Collection MSS 1000
Final Months of John Law's Mississippi System collection MSS 1008
Related Artwork &
Lettres Patentes du Roy, Contenant Reglement pour la Banque generale, accordée au Sieur Law, & a sa Compagnie 2000-21-L
Arrest du Conseil d'Estat du Roy, Qui Nomme des Commissaires pour passer les Contracts de Rentes de la Compagnie d'Occident 2000-105-L
Lettres Patentes du Roy, portant reglement pour le commerce des colonies Françoises 98-74-L
Bank note with John Law's Royal Bank seal 2000-97-L
John Law Bank Note 2001-47-L
John Law document 2006.0317
Mre. Jean law coner. Du Roy En Tous Ces Conils Controleur Gnal Des Finances en 1720 1974.25.27.499
Jean Law. Controleur General des Finances, sous la Regence 1979.29
Related Bibliographic Items: Le système monétaire de Law, les premiers billets de banque et la fondation de la Compagnie de Louisiane / Rodolphe Chamonal. 2008.0355
Arrest du Conseil d'Estat du Roy, Qui Ordonne qu'il ne sera plus envoyé de Vagabonds, Gens sans aveû, Fraudeurs & Criminels à la Loüisianne ... Du 9. Mai 1720 94-084-RL
Ordonnance du Roy, qui deffend aux Gouverneurs & Lieutenans Generaux, Gouverneurs Particuliers & Intendans des Colonies, d'avoir des Habitations ... le 7. Novembre 1719 94-622-RL
Arrêts, déclarations, édits et ordonnances concernant les colonies, 1666-1779 : inventaire analytique de la série Colonies A / par Odile Krakovitch. 2008.0250.1
Acts of French royal administration concerning Canada, Guiana, the West Indies and Louisiana, prior to 1791 : a list / compiled by Lawrence C. Wroth and Gertrude L. Annan. 80-373-RL
The French colonisation of America as exemplified in a remarkable collection of French administrative acts (1581-1791) mainly from the library of Cardinal E. C. de Loménie de Brienne, offered for sale by Maggs bros., Paris. 2000-77-RL.2
Money and trade considered : with a proposal for supplying the nation with money / by the celebrated John Law. 83-644-RL
Related Materials at
Other Institutions:
Arrêts sur le système de Law, Dec. 7, 1715 - Dec. 29, 1720 [Edits, declarations, arrêts, ordonnances, et reglements sur la fabrication, augmentations et diminutions d'especcs Banque Royale comp. des Indies, billets et comptes en Banque et autres sur le sisteme des finances 1715 à 1719]. Special Collections, Duke University Libraries. Duke University, Durham, NC.
Maitland collection of South Sea Company and Mississippi Scheme papers, 1669-1774, bulk (1711-1720). MssCol 1848. New York Public Library, New York, NY.
Lower Level Records: MSS 606.1; Series I: Manuscripts, Series Level.
MSS 606.2; Series II: Printed Pamphlets, Series Level.
MSS 606.3; Series III: Printed Tables Volume , Series Level.
MSS 606.4; Series IV: Printed Broadsides , Series Level.
MSS 606.5; Series V: Printed Books and Documents, Series Level.
MSS 606.6; Series VI: Additions, Series Level.
Accession Number: 2011.0003